Prime Minister Narendra Modi today extended PM Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana for a further five months till November-end for distributing free foodgrains to the poor.  PM Modi said that the government will keep providing free foodgrains to the poor section of the society due to the increased need during the festivals. The PM further said that the government will incur an additional expenditure of Rs  90,000 crore to provide 5 kg of rice or wheat and 1 kg gram every month to the poor. He highlighted that the free distribution of foodgrains to 80 crore people in India could feed 2.5 times the US population, 12 times the UK population and, twice the European Union’s population.

The scheme has benefited as many as 80 crore people to get free rations during the crucial lockdown months. This scheme entails the distribution of 5kgs of wheat or rice to each family every month.  

“The festival season will begin soon. Keeping that in mind, the central government will give 5 kg wheat, 5 kg rice, and 1 kg chickpeas free to 80 crore people. This will cost the government 90,000 crores. If we add the cost of the past three months as well, the total expenditure on the scheme comes to Rs 2.5 lakh crore,” Modi said, also saying that efforts were on to unroll ‘One Nation, One Ration Card’ scheme. 

“If we are able to give the poor food, its because of two sections—India’s farmers and our honest taxpayers,” PM said.

He also said that people had become careless since restrictions were eased, and warned: “We need to be more careful now. We’ve seen irresponsible behavior about masks and social distancing since Unlock 1 was announced. This is dangerous and worrying”.

“A timely lockdown and other decisions helped saved lakhs of lives in the country. He said although the country has entered the ‘Unlock 2’ phase, he warned against citizens against letting their guard down and urged them to follow the rules and other precautions to break the spread of coronavirus,” the Prime Minister said.  

In the wake of the ongoing economic and social crisis due to the coronavirus pandemic, Prime Minister Narendra Modi rolled out a special economic relief package worth Rs 21 lakh crore, which included the steps previously taken by the Reserve Bank of India and government’s earlier announcement of a relief package worth Rs 1.7 lakh crore. The package announced by the government aimed at helping the industry, middle class, micro, small and medium enterprises, and the large industries. PM Modi had said that the package focusses on land, labor, liquidity and law while helping small businesses, laborers, and farmers.